Speaking about the Eric Snowden Affair, 64-year-old former Atty. Gen. Eric Holder confessed his bias about the 32-year-old fugitive from justice after ripping off National Security Agency secrets about government surveillance while working for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton in 2013 as a system administrator. Holder said Snowden did a “public service.” Snowden turned over pilfered government data to the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and Der Spiegel. Once published, Holder sang a different tune June 21, 2013 when he pursued charges against Snowden for violating the 1917 U.S. Espionage Act, chasing him from Hawaii to Hong Kong and then to Moscow where Eric spent over a month in Russia’s Sheremetyevo Airport before granted temporary asylum by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin welcomed the chance to stick it to the U.S.
Holder’s confession that Snowden performed a “public service” shows Holder’s true colors after pretending to uphold U.S. espionage laws. There’s no “whistleblower” provision in U.S. laws protecting traitors, saboteurs and criminals for violating U.S. National Security laws related to classified or Top Secret government information. Holder can’t have it both ways: Saying Snowden broke U.S. laws and, at the same time, performed a public service. “We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did,” said Holder, referring to the value of exposing government spying operations. “But I think that he actually performed a public service raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made,” Holder confessed to former Obama strategist David Axelrod in a CNN podcast. There’s no “whistleblower” provision in U.S. espionage laws.
Holder can’t admit his bias without putting on his attorney general hat. “What he did—and the way he did it—was inappropriate and illegal,” backpedaling on his true liberal views. Fleeing from U.S. justice, Snowden revealed the true nature of his act involving compromising U.S. national security. “He harmed American interests,” admitted Holder, realizing he showed too much sympathy for Snowden, a fugitive from the U.S. criminal justice system. Hiding out in Moscow for the last three years, Snowden makes occasional statements about returning to the U.S. to face the courts. Snowden claims that if the Justice Department would only cut him a plea deal, he’d be more than happy to return. Returning to face his crimes, with almost certain jail time, doesn’t appeal to the 32-year-old fugitive. “I think that he’s got to make a decision,” said Holder, regarding Snowden’s return to the States.
Whatever the debate in the U.S. over the Patriot Act and government surveillance, Snowden has no whistleblower statutes to fall back on. He was contracted with Booz Allen Hamiliton to abide by confidentiality rules related to access to classified and Top Secret government data. Collecting government data and turning it over to domestic and foreign newspapers violated his employment contract and government espionage laws. “He broke the law in my view. He needs to get lawyers, come on back, and decide, see what he wants to do. Go to trial, try to cut a deal,” said Holder, something he couldn’t do while attorney general without creating political backlash for President Barack Obama. No one really knows how much cash, if at all, Snowden received from various sources for his stolen government secrets. Putin warned Snowden not to reveal more secrets or risk losing his temporary asylum.
If Snowden were really a true “whistleblower,” he wouldn’t have fled the criminal justice system, believing that federal prosecutors or a jury would cut him some slack. “If Mr. Snowden wanted to come back to the United States and enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers,” Holder said in 2014. “We’d do that with any defendant wanted to enter a plea of guilty,” referring to an offer made Snowden. Liberal advocacy groups praised Snowden’s disclosures about government surveillance, touting his courage revealing inappropriate government spying. “If the government was willing to provide a fair trial, if I had accesss to public interest defenses and other things like that, I would want to come home and make my case to the jury,” Snowden said in a video this month to the University of Chicago. Yet his PR statements don’t match with his flight from justice, knowing the severity of his crimes.
Painting Snowden as a “whisleblower” shows how clever propagandists excuse criminal behavior performed for the public good. Stealing classified government information with the expressed purpose of blackmailing the government or taking cash for the secrets from domestic or foreign newspapers, doesn’t serve the public good. “But, as I think you’re quite familiar, the Espionage Act does not permit a public interest defense. Your not allowed to speak the word ‘whistleblower’ at trial,” Snowden admitted in the same video. Fleeing from U.S. justice and seeking temporary asylum in Russia shows that there’s no real “whistleblower” or patriotic intent to Snowden, only a frenzy to escape criminal prosecution. Whatever the pros and cons to Snowden’s actions, taking Putin’s temporary asylum proved beyond any doubt that he understood the consequences to violating the Espionage Act.